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Ecological vulnerability of the chondrichthyan fauna of southern Australia to the stressors of climate change, fishing and other anthropogenic hazards


Walker, TI and Day, RW and Awruch, CA and Bell, JD and Braccini, JM and Dapp, DR and Finotto, L and Frick, LH and Garces-Garcia, KC and Guida, L and Huveneers, C and Martins, CL and Rochowski, BEA and Tovar-Avila, J and Trinnie, FI and Reina, RD, Ecological vulnerability of the chondrichthyan fauna of southern Australia to the stressors of climate change, fishing and other anthropogenic hazards, Fish and Fisheries, 22, (5) pp. 1105-1135. ISSN 1467-2960 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/faf.12571


We develop a potentially widely applicable framework for analysing the vulnerability, resilience risk and exposure of chondrichthyan species to all types of anthropogenic stressors in the marine environment. The approach combines the three components of widely applied vulnerability analysis (exposure, sensitivity and adaptability) (ESA) with three components (exposure, susceptibility and productivity) (ESP) of our adaptation of productivity–susceptibility analysis (PSA). We apply our 12-step ESA‒ESP analysis to evaluate the vulnerability (risk of a marked reduction of the population) of each of 132 chondrichthyan species in the Exclusive Economic Zone of southern Australia. The vulnerability relates to a species’ resilience to a spatial (or suitability) reduction of its habitats from exposure to up to eight climate change stressors. Vulnerability also relates to anthropogenic mortality added to natural mortality from exposure to the stressors of five types of fishing and seven other types of anthropogenic hazards. We use biological attributes as risk factors to evaluate risk related to resilience at the species or higher taxonomic level. We evaluate each species’ exposure to anthropogenic stressors by assigning it to one of six ecological groups based on its lifestyle (demersal versus pelagic) and habitat, defined by bathymetric range and substrates. We evaluate vulnerability for 11 scenarios: 2000–2006 when fishing effort peaked; 2018 following a decade of fisheries management reforms; low, medium and high standard future carbon dioxide equivalent emissions scenarios; and their six possible climate–fishing combinations. Our results demonstrate the value of refugia from fishing and how climate change exacerbates the risks from fishing.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptive capacity, ecological risk assessment, ecological sensitivity, productivity and susceptibility analysis, resilience, stress exposure
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Awruch, CA (Dr Cynthia Awruch)
UTAS Author:Bell, JD (Dr Justin Bell)
ID Code:151683
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2022-08-03
Last Modified:2022-08-03

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